September 23, 2016
As a kid, I was determined to be a pro baseball player and a psychiatrist. I never really had any other long career goals. As a teen, I became committed to attending Duke University and having five sons. My vision was we would play basketball around the country against other teams. My determination to get to Duke and become a psychiatrist was significant. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as determined to be a pro ball player, and although I did play at Duke, I let many other insecurities and impulsive decisions derail that dream.
My downfall was in not staying mentally focused and not being intentional and disciplined with my activities. Other self-centered needs intruded on my dreams and led to distracting activities. You know, some of my judgment lapses from past Stepping Stones. There’s no reason to blame God. My unfulfilled dreams were entirely my fault.
In Philippians 1:20, Paul seems to be saying, “My determined purpose is to be my best for His glory … whether by life or death.” Paul was determined to let nothing stand in the way of doing exactly what God wanted, not even pain or death would stand in the way of being a Godly decision-maker.
What will it take for you to choose to follow God’s will? We all start our days with the idea, resolve and attitude that we will do the right thing, be a good person, put God first. As we start our day, we often think, “regardless of the temptations, we will make the right decision.” But somewhere during the day, we get sidetracked; our determination gets undermined. Petty, self-centered needs and agendas start to outrank our calling and our faulty choices soon follow and often start to pile up. We stray from following God’s will.
I believe that many times a crisis must develop in our lives before we make the decision to follow God’s will purposefully and determinedly. This is often how He gets us to focus our attention on Him more acutely. We need these crises because we are so unresponsive to God’s numerous gentle nudges. Once we arrive at the place where He asks us to be the best for His glory and our maximal fulfillment, the debate within us begins. And when the crisis hits we must decide—for or against God’s purpose? There is no middle ground. That moment, the moment of deciding for or against, is the greatest crossroads we face in our daily walk.
Today, when adversity comes into your life on any front, surrender your will to God and you will find peace and freedom. This happens by asking, “What need of mine is trumping or competing with God’s instruction, will, promises, or character?” Then make a willful decision to follow His will and put yours on hold. This glorifies Him and is by far the best for you. You will actually renew your mind spiritually, psychologically, and even physiologically when you make this Godly decision. Really, believe it or not, your brain circuitry and chemistry actually becomes stronger. Whether you have a determined purpose to follow God’s will or you get tricked into following your own will — it’s your decision, so choose well. The Lighthouse Network resource Edging Forward will help you or a loved one grow the disciplines for to set and achieve a Godly determined purpose.
Dear Father God, I pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal Your message to me in a way that I can understand and live out daily. I feel very much ashamed that I have not given you the areas of my life that You have asked me to yield. I want to live my life so that in no way will I be ashamed. Lord, help me shut out everything that keeps me from doing my very best for Your glory. I actually find my limitations liberating when my strongest desire is to do my best for Your glory. Thank You, Lord, for the freedom this provides. For Your word tells me that where Your Spirit is, there is freedom. In Christ’s determined name I pray. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” Peter 3:18